What is a Good Credit Score?

What is a Good Credit Score?

Everyone wants a good credit score, but what is a good credit score? The highest credit score you can get is 850, but you don’t have to reach the top of the FICO score range to have a good credit score.

The difference between a bad credit score and a good credit score may save you tens of thousands of dollars on a mortgage, or be the difference between getting approved for a new credit card or loan. If you are wondering what is a good credit score, follow along with this guide to learn more.

What is a good credit score?

What is considered a good credit score? That is a simple question with a not-so-simple answer. Credit scores are measured with multiple scoring models, but the most popular is the FICO credit score, named for the Fair Isaac Corporation that developed and maintains the scoring model.

A “good” credit score falls into the range of 680-720, but that is not the best score possible as the FICO score range goes all the way up to 850, but more on that in a moment.

To have a good or better credit score, you should have a history of on-time credit and loan payments, with maybe one or two small mistakes, or a perfect but short credit history. Late and missed payments are the fastest way to ruin a good credit score, and high credit card balances just drag credit scores down even more.

It is important to understand your credit report so you know what is going into your credit score. You can’t just look at your score alone. What is a good credit score? Now you know the answer, but we are just getting started with today’s lesson on credit.

FICO score range: where do you fall?

According to credit score reporting company Credit Sesame, scores can fall into bad, poor, fair, good, and excellent categories. Here is a breakdown of the FICO score ranges and how the lenders think of them. The highest credit score is 850, and the full FICO score range is from 300 to 850.

Credit Score Category

FICO Score Range

Excellent

750 and above

Good

700-749

Fair

650-699

Poor

550-649

Bad

550 and below

Keep in mind that not every credit score is a FICO score. VantageScore is a well-established competitor to the FICO score, and free credit reporting sites like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame likely don’t report your true FICO score used by the majority of banks and non-bank lenders.

Finding your credit score for free

Want to find out if your credit score is considered a good credit score? You’re in luck! You can find your credit report and credit score for free from several different websites.

The three big credit reporting bureaus are required by law to give you a copy of your credit report, which is used to calculate your credit score, annually. You can get those from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion by visiting annualcreditreport.com.

If you want your credit score, you may be able to get it for free from your bank or credit card company directly as a benefit with your account. You can also use a free service like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, or Quizzle.

These sites all give you your credit score and credit report information with suggestions to boost your credit score. But we’ll give you some tips right now to get you started.

How to improve your credit score

If you want to build a credit score from scratch or turn a bad credit score into a good credit score, you’re in luck. You can absolutely get a good or excellent credit score if you follow some basic guidelines and rules for good credit.

Pay down revolving debt balances - The fastest thing you can do to raise your credit score is pay off credit cards and lines-of-credit. Keeping those balances below 20% of your total limit is key to a great credit score.

Always pay on-time - Always, 100% of the time with no exceptions, pay your bills on-time. If you have a history of late or missed payments, it will seriously harm your credit score and take 7-years to fix.

Avoid opening/closing accounts - Opening and closing new accounts lowers your average age of credit, a key indicator in your credit score. Keep accounts open as long as possible for a good credit score.

Never pay late - I know this is a bit repetitive after “always pay on-time,” but it is so important it deserves another mention. Late payments seriously harm your credit score for a LONG time.

Your credit score is in your hands

No one has more control over your credit than you. Don’t blame the credit card company for your late payments, put on your grown-up pants and take charge of the situation. If you always pay on-time, keep balances low, and resist the urge to tinker, you’ll be on track for a great credit score. Excellent credit, and the rewards that come with it, may be just around the corner!

Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated April 13, 2018 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.